Okay, so you’ve been thinking about buying a camera gimbal.
But are they really worth it? After all, they can be a bit pricey.
The short answer is that gimbals can help to stabilize your camera, making it easier to capture smooth footage. However, not every filmmaker needs a gimbal as there are ways to achieve professional-looking video without one.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of camera gimbals and help you decide if one is right for you.
What Actually Is A Camera Gimbal?
A camera gimbal is a device that allows a camera to rotate on two or three axes while remaining perfectly level.
Gimbals use gravity and weight to balance a camera in such a way that allows it to move freely in (often) any direction.
Gimbal technology isn’t only used in the camera world. Multi-access gimbals can be found on boats, planes, and other forms of modern technology.
A gimbal is defined as “a mechanism, typically consisting of rings pivoted at right angles, for keeping an instrument such as a compass or chronometer horizontal in a moving vessel or aircraft.”
Camera gimbals are often used by professional filmmakers and videographers, but they’re also becoming increasingly popular among hobbyists and amateur shooters.
There are many different types of gimbals on the market, ranging from simple handheld devices to complex multi-axis rigs.
Gimbals can range wildly in price, depending on materials, build quality, and brand.
GImbals also come in all shapes and sizes, depending on their intended use. Photography gimbals are more simplistic and are meant to be placed on a tripod, while video gimbals are often much more complex and designed to be carried or attached to a drone.
In this article, we will focus on electronic gimbals intended for video use.
Read More: Camera Gimbals: The Ultimate Guide
Do Gimbals Actually Make A Difference?
Gimbals have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a simple and effective way to stabilize a camera.
But do they really make a difference?
In most cases, the answer is yes.
Gimbals work by counteracting the movements of the camera, which can help to keep shots steady and smooth.
This is particularly beneficial when shooting video, as even small vibrations can cause the footage to appear jerky.
Additionally, gimbals can be used to create dynamic shots that would be otherwise impossible to capture, such as sweeping pans and tracking shots.
So, while they may not be essential for every situation, gimbals can definitely make a difference when it comes to camera stabilization.
Reasons To Get A Gimbal
When used right, gimbals can be great filmmaking tools.
Here are some of our top reasons to consider getting a gimbal.
If you’re a vlogger, action camera user, or just someone who likes to take videos on their phone, you’ve probably noticed that shaky footage can be a big problem.
Even the slightest movement can ruin an otherwise great video, and there’s only so much you can do to keep your hands perfectly still.
Stabilizing video is the primary function of a gimbal — and a good gimbal can do this very well.
In fact, a good quality gimbal operated well can even mimic dolly and Steadicam shots that once would have cost thousands to produce.
Gimbals have truly made professional-level camera stabilizing accessible to the masses — making them a purchase worth considering for most amateur filmmakers.
Inspires Creative Filmmaking
Not only do gimbals excel at stabilization, but they can also help to inspire more creative filmmaking.
A gimbal allows its operator to move the camera in ways that would be impossible with a traditional tripod, opening up new possibilities for creative filmmaking.
For example, a gimbal can be used to capture low-angle shots or follow a moving subject without having to reposition the camera.
In addition, a gimbal can be mounted on a variety of different surfaces, giving filmmakers a great deal of flexibility when choosing locations for their shots.
Whether you’re shooting a wedding video or a Hollywood blockbuster, a gimbal can help you capture more creative shots and think outside of the box regarding your filmmaking.
Relative Ease Of Use
Most modern gimbals are designed to be used by the general public.
This means that with an hour or two of training, most filmmakers can start shooting impressively smooth footage right off the bat.
Older technology such as Steadicams used to require many hours or days of training to perfect — modern gimbals require only a fraction of that.
Gimbals Are Fun
One of the often overlooked pros of gimbal ownership in the gimbal argument is “fun.”
Simply put, gimbals are really fun to use.
Many filmmakers are also gearing heads, and an electronic gimbal is the ultimate filmmaking toy.
Buying a gimbal is sure to inspire you to get out and film. And sometimes that inspiration is the only reason you need to purchase some new gear!
Read More: Buying A Used Gimbal: A Complete Guide
The Downside To Camera Gimbals
There is no denying that gimbals can help you produce more professional-looking footage.
However, modern gimbals aren’t perfect and certainly possess their fair share of faults.
Here are some potential reasons to avoid purchasing a gimbal.
There’s no denying that camera modern electronic gimbals are pricey.
Some consumer gimbals can reach the $1000, $2000, or $3000 mark. Just look at the DJI Ronin 2 3-Axis Handheld/Aerial Stabilizer.
While many less expensive consumer options do exist, purchasing a cheap gimbal can be a mistake.
While many cheaper gimbals are still capable of stabilizing your footage, they tend to be made of cheap materials.
This means you could find yourself spending $400 on a gimbal made of cheap, fragile plastic.
Camera gimbals are great for getting smooth, steady footage, but they can be a bit finicky to set up and use. First of all, you need to make sure that the gimbal is properly balanced.
If it’s not, the camera will tend to drift to one side or the other.
Once you’ve got it balanced, there’s the matter of calibrating the gimbal so that it knows which way is up. Otherwise, it will constantly try to level out the camera, resulting in jerky footage.
All of these factors can make using a camera gimble a bit tricky.
As we mentioned, many cheaper gimbals are made of plastic or other easily-breakable materials.
But the truth is that even pricier gimbals made with premium materials can still be delicate.
This is because gimbals contain multiple servo motors and other small electronics.
The arms and motors of a gimbal are also designed to move in specific ways, and any force outside of this range can damage the gimbal.
Additionally, the delicate electronics inside a gimbal can be easily damaged by water or dust.
As a result, it is important to take care when handling a camera gimbal and to always keep it clean and dry.
That said, with proper care, a gimbal can provide years of smooth, steady shots.
Who Should Consider Buying A Gimbal
The truth is, not everyone needs a gimbal.
But for some, a gimbal is actually a wise purchase — despite the steep price.
Here’s who we think should bite the bullet and get a gimbal.
Aspiring Professional Filmamkers
Anyone who’s serious about becoming a better and more professional filmmaker should consider investing in a good camera gimbal.
With a gimbal, you’ll be able to get smoother, steadier shots — which will in turn help in creating professional-looking films.
Gimbals also allow you to be more creative with your shots, giving you the ability to capture unique perspectives that would otherwise be impossible.
Despite still being pricey, gimbals have never been more accessible — making this a great time to be an aspiring professional filmmaker.
Professionals Who Do Video (YouTubers, Real Estate Agents, Social Media Marketers etc.)
Professionals who use video in their jobs may also want to consider purchasing a gimbal.
For example, real estate agents who film walkthroughs of properties are likely to benefit from the smoothness that a gimbal provides.
Other professionals such as social media marketers who film marketing videos are also likely to benefit.
After all, gimbals offer a relatively low-effort way to significantly up the production value of your content.
Read More: The Best Gimbals For Beginners: Cheap & Easy
If you’re in the market for a camera gimbal, you might be wondering if there are any alternatives out there.
After all, gimbals aren’t cheap, and they can be a bit of a hassle to set up and use.
Fortunately, there are a few options that can give you similar results without the need for a gimbal.
Another option is to use a camera top mount.
This will attach to your camera and help to stabilize it, but it won’t provide the same level of stability as a gimbal.
Top mounts utilize your camera’s cold shoe to attach to your gear.
Once installed a top mount relies on gravity and the weight of your camera to stabilize your shot.
Tripod With Panning Head
One alternative is to use a tripod with a panning head.
This will give you smooth, steady panning shots, but it won’t be as smooth as what you would get with a gimbal.
While this method offers nowhere near the versatility that a top mount offers, there is really no better alternative when it comes to panning.
In some cases, a tripod with a panning head can produce even better results than a gimbal!
Finally, you could always try hand-holding your camera.
This is the cheapest and easiest option, but it’s also the least stable when compared to a tripod or top mount.
This might sound silly, but with some practice, it is actually possible to get fairly stable results with a handheld camera.
Just make sure to practice your ninja walk!
More Gimbal Resources
- Choosing The Best Gimbal Lens: Ultimate Guide
- 5 Best Gimbal Training Courses: A Guide
- 7 Awesome Things You Can Do With A Gimbal
The Bottom Line
So, are gimbals worth it?
Gimbals help to stabilize your camera, making it easier to capture smooth, professional-looking video footage.
So, gimbals can be a great investment for anyone who wants to improve the quality of their videos and filmmaking.
While they may not be essential for everyone, they can make a big difference for those who are serious about videography.
They also allow you to pan and tilt your camera more smoothly, which can be invaluable for capturing dynamic shots.
If you’re looking to take your videography to the next level, a gimbal could be just what you need.